The refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy has set out Britain’s shipbuilding plans.

According to the document:

“In December 2022, the Royal Navy will take ownership of a fleet of vessels which currently provide In-Port towage, transportation of passengers, and harbour movements of commodities such as stores, ammunition, waste, fuel and other liquids for the UK Naval Bases in Devonport, Faslane and Portsmouth.

An estimated 37 vessels from the current fleet will require replacing from 2025 to ensure these critical services continue to be provided safely and effectively to the Royal Navy.

The vessels will be Government owned but contractor operated. Subject to approved funding, the replacement vessels will be purchased on behalf of the MOD, with it being the responsibility of the contractor to identify the shipyard(s) that best meet the requirement in respect of design, delivery time, and value for money.”

According to a Government statement:

“First published in 2017, the National Shipbuilding Strategy outlined ambitions to transform naval procurement, securing export and design contracts for British naval ships. Building on that success, this refresh outlines the government’s further ambitions to reinvigorate the whole British shipbuilding industry.

Over £4 billion of government investment will galvanise and support shipyards and suppliers across the UK, with new measures including better access to finance, vital skills-building, and funding for crucial research and development into greener vessels and infrastructure.

Designed in partnership with industry and delivered by the recently formed National Shipbuilding Office (NSO), the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh will also deliver a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels for the UK Government and Devolved Administrations over the next 30 years. The vessels will include large warships, Border Force cutters, lighthouse vessels and the new National Flagship.”

You can view the document here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Pete
Pete
1 month ago

Being cynical, is this about adding hulls to aid the statistical growth of the Royal Navy?

Ian Brown
Ian Brown
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Might be and you would be right in your cynicism. At the same time, they put HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar up for sale.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

No. Contractor operated. Not HM ships.

pete
pete
30 days ago

read the section again Daniele….nb the word ‘ownership’ in the extract……Call me cynical but I can see some statement in 18 months time saying….’….. over the past few years we have ve added XX vessels to the Royal Navy’ but some of which will be these transfers. Not a big issue but I can see it coming …several cups and a couple of very lightweight peas.

In December 2022, the Royal Navy will take ownership of a fleet of vessels which currently provide In-Port towage, transportation of passengers, and harbour…….”

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
30 days ago
Reply to  pete

Well that would be extremely poor even by HMG standards of spin!

I assume they meant MoD will take ownership. Will be one to watch!

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago

PAS Boars (port Auxiliary services) Painted in the Colours of the Nelsonian Navy Daniele

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

It’s about giving the government a say in the design and where and how these vessels are built. This also ensures continuity of vessels between contractors. Known as GOCO – Government Owned.Contractor Operated.

Darren hall
Darren hall
30 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Understand the Cynicism…
But, the RFA are not classed as part of the RN!
Plus looking at the History of the service provided by these small boats, are we not just going full circle back to the days of the RMAS?
They were never classed as part of the RN, even though they were deployed on occasions…

Pete
Pete
29 days ago
Reply to  Darren hall

Understand that but the article quotes the shipbuilding statement which quotes that the Royal Navy will own, not the RFA. I trust the MoD / Govt understands the difference.

Darren hall
Darren hall
27 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Yep, but are we not heading full circle back to the RMAS?

Angus
Angus
1 month ago

Turning back the clock to the way it was, although to be fair to date the service provided has more than met the needs of the time, but again as the Fleet grows more will be needed. But again could be a mash over to say we are getting bigger in the same way as the MOD pensions was added to expenditure to show we were over the NATO 2% 😠

Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast
1 month ago

Should always have been in the first place IMO… however the cynic in me does wonder how much this will cost – hopefully not paid for with more liberal application of ”FFBNW” on the new frigates…

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

Good news. Any chance of Network Rail taking control of the trains?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Would be handy. I’d get free travel everywhere then!

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I remember the old Wagons that that embossed on their side PTSO(N) N for Navy down in Guzz Paul

Paul.P
Paul.P
30 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

comment image

Tommo
Tommo
29 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

👍👍 probably better than network rail Paul

Paul.P
Paul.P
29 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

😂

Steve M
Steve M
1 month ago

Give Appledore the work (well some of it) they can build numerous ships right upto HMS Scott size

Shaun Hayes
Shaun Hayes
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

They must be made to use British steel also and not import it

Steve M
Steve M
29 days ago
Reply to  Shaun Hayes

👍👍

Keith j Kellett
Keith j Kellett
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Hear hear…look at those ” Corvettes ” they built for the Irish, grand looking ships..built by a dedicated workforce too !

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

SERCO vessels?

JOHNT
JOHNT
1 month ago

Re forming the RMAS?

barry white
barry white
30 days ago
Reply to  JOHNT

No
Reforming the PAS

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  barry white

👍 many a morning I’d get the PAS from either Vernon to Dolphin or RC yard to North corner Barry

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

So I presume this is the fleet of SD – Serco Denholm vessels which provide the service of the old RMAS?

Interestingly, SD Victoria, which carries out training with SF amongst other roles, is already GOCO, Government Owned, Contractor Operated. The only one in the fleet to be GOCO I believe. The rest are COCO.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
1 month ago

Yep. Sounds like SERCO are getting the boot to a degree. Although it might be that SD Victoria is working out pretty well like that so they’ve decided to go with that model. I suspect that the main reason is that with contractor owned vessels that the MoD is always going to have a problem re-competing the tender…should have been obvious from the start really…I wonder if the ASR contract might go the same way eventually…privatising really doesn’t make sense unless you ensure the contractor doesn’t have you over a barrel at contract renewal time…

jasmcp
jasmcp
28 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

No! They will still be contractor operated. I would not be surprised if Serco are the party pushing for this, much like they won the case to hand back the former MOD employee pension responsibility in 2019

jasmcp
jasmcp
28 days ago

Not Serco Denholm – Serco Marine Services. Serco and Denholm parted company many years ago even though the vessel still have the SD prefix. The initial contract when the RMAS was privatised (1996) was GOCO.
The MOD insisted Serco took ownership for the renewal. Now going back from whence it came. Government running round in circles as per the norm🤔

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
23 days ago
Reply to  jasmcp

Did they, I missed that so thanks for the correction Jas. Curious why the SD remained?

jasmcp
jasmcp
23 days ago

It would have cost a fortune in re-registration fees, They needed to waste their money on white paint instead, in order to change the livery to match the Calmac fleet – For the contract bid they never won

GWT Morris
GWT Morris
1 month ago

Hopefully this will return the once great skill base and resources we used to have. Having served an apprenticeship at Vosper Thornycroft in the early 70’s only to be made redundant when the Labour Party Nationalised Shipbuilding I have to drop that career and move to another industry to pay my mortgage and support my wife. The covered birth VT built during that time to be the largest in Europe is now a housing development!

Michael Maurice Spillane
Michael Maurice Spillane
1 month ago

RMAS and PAS did perfectly good work in the dockyards and basins so let’s upset all that, bring in contractors like Serco to do it cheaply. inefficiently and ineffectually so some retiring QHM can get his arse on the board! The purpose behind all these “private finance initiatives”. Pay the workforce peanuts on the premise that they all have service pensions anyway and hog the profits for the directors and share holders.

jasmcp
jasmcp
28 days ago

As a former RMAS & Serco employee, I can confirm you’re wrong on every point you’ve stated.

Michael M. Spillane
Michael M. Spillane
24 days ago
Reply to  jasmcp

Oh a retired QHM then?

Daddy Mack
Daddy Mack
1 month ago

Just what we need for a potential major land war in Europe, a National Flagship.
I’m sure half of this is nessesary kit, but it boggles the mind how we prioritise defence money.

Keith j Kellett
Keith j Kellett
30 days ago
Reply to  Daddy Mack

My thoughts exactly…smallest Army for 300 yrs !

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  Daddy Mack

Will they be able too close down the National Flagship too Zulu Alpha ,and have the Ability too Pre Wet ?Daddy

Sd
Sd
1 month ago

No all this means is the mod are buying new vessels for Serco

Phil the Fuel
Phil the Fuel
1 month ago

It means that Serco save a large sum and MOD now pays for the vessels they want and it isnt cheap. There are a lot of vessels in need of replacement and soon. Some are nearly 50 years old and came from the RMAS days i know i work on 1. We were using spares until a few years ago pack in 1938. Be careful what you wish for you may get it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
30 days ago
Reply to  Phil the Fuel

That’s interesting, as when Serco took the contract they bought a whole range of vessels for the task. I thought they were all pretty new.
Which SD do you work on?

Phil the Fuel
Phil the Fuel
30 days ago

Unfortunately im bound by our social media rules, so cant say to much as ive been in trouble in the past. Serco is a mixed bag for us. In my port some good, the new kit you see front and centre is good set to commercial standards, the stuff you don’t see much isn’t so good as its generally older early 70s in my case , looked after still can do its job but shows its age. My experience of Serco is good though others wouldn’t agree. Ive been lucky and got to see some interesting kit and new ships… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
30 days ago
Reply to  Phil the Fuel

No worries.

Simon
Simon
30 days ago
Reply to  Phil the Fuel

one of the reasons it was farmed out to start with was the cost of replacing the RMAS fleet. while Serco have replaced a number of vessels (made mainly by Damen) there are others that just seem to be running on and on

David
David
30 days ago
Reply to  Simon

That’s absolutely right, I can remember the blast of publicity when SD placed their big order with Damen. Now there is a change of approach because fleet renewal is needed. Something seems strange. Perhaps the SD contract was as badly drafted as certain other MoD contracts???

Phil the Fuel
Phil the Fuel
30 days ago
Reply to  Simon

some of the stuff kept is because they are the best suited for each of the 3 ports differences ie ships/subs and geography of the ports themselves. The new equipment options aren’t better than the old in some places they have to go. Also some aren’t front of house are still capable and meet contract requirements so why fix what isn’t broken and the contact is coming to an end a lot of money to replace . The most important thing is we meet whats asked of us even with all the changes happening in the world right now. As… Read more »

criss whicker
criss whicker
30 days ago

i dont see many more war ships, other than what we already know,
but we are going to get over 28 ferries, especialy for scotland, and a few ships for wales and northern ireland,
have i read this right ?/ 150 ships over 30 years works out cir one ship every two months for 30 years, ?

Frank62
Frank62
30 days ago

Good move. SD or any private supplier of services always add their fee on top of whatever they’re supplying whereas in house it’s just the actual costs.

Jonathan
Jonathan
30 days ago

from a contract commissioning point of view it makes it easier as you can undertake a re-procurement knowing both the staff and vessels are in place. Otherwise re-procurement becomes a bit pointless and as only one company has the capital accessed to do the job and it becomes a privately owned monopoly and from and effectively point of view it can become a nightmare. Never ever have a private company running a monopoly service for the government, it’s the worst of both worlds.

Daniel Parr
Daniel Parr
30 days ago

Looks like the “Serco Denholm” contract (which took over the former RNXS fleet and provision) is coming up for renewal. Not sure of the details but I orginally thought it was an all-encompassing contract includding the provision of vessels & boats etc? Hope the MOD has not been outwitted into paying for the vessels for the contract as well as out sourcing the service?

Alan MacLellan
Alan MacLellan
30 days ago

Nothing new here, when I was in the mob, quite a few years now, all these vessels were owned by the mob with dockyard workers manning them, so all these years of rushing ahead and selling off as much as they could, now the pendulum swings back and we are rebuying them! When will politicians ever learn, when something works leave it well alone, stop lining your own pockets!

jasmcp
jasmcp
28 days ago

Ever revolving circles. Been there done that, lets change! then go back to the way it was🤔

Richard B
Richard B
27 days ago

When on Wednesday I read the National Shipbuilding Strategy refresh, I kept waiting for it to get “to the meat” – decisions, new initiatives, new programmes, new policies, revised budgets … before finally reaching page 71 (“Next Steps”) and realising that there weren’t any! The info about the naval support vessel’s really is the highlight in this regard! I know a strategy is essentially a high-level policy document, but this didn’t stop the authors filling a substantial chunk this paper with back slapping Case Studies. The nominally 80 page document could easily have been just a 10 page update to the… Read more »